Successful First NASA Orion Test Flight With TTTech's TTEthernet On Board

TTTech supports the design of the NASA Orion Onboard Data Network (ODN) and advanced integrated system architectures for human-rated space flight based on TTTech's TTEthernet technology and products

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Orion's First Step to Deep Space: Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014

NASA Launches Next Generation Spacecraft with TTTech on Board

NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is the successor to the famous Space Shuttle. As a next generation spacecraft it will enable humanity to explore space beyond low earth orbit for the first time in over 40 years, including distant asteroids, the moons of Mars or Jupiter and other places in our solar system, marking the beginning of a new era in space exploration.

TTEthernet Is the Spacecraft's "Nervous System"

One of Orion's most important systems is the avionics system, often described as the "brains" of the spacecraft. The avionics system consists of a wide variety of standard and complex electronics assembled into various independent systems, each responsible for performing specific critical functions. TTEthernet is at the core of this "nervous system" allowing a mixed criticality architecture using all three traffic classes of TTEthernet, i.e. standard, rate-constrained and time-triggered Ethernet, thus being highly flexible and modular. All independent avionics sub-systems of MPCV were connected by using this deterministic high performance Ethernet network.

NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle - Image © NASA
NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle - Image © NASA

Customer Statement

"We look forward to realizing the potential of TTEthernet technology development, which provides a high bandwidth avionics databus capability supporting future technology insertion."

Thomas W. Rathjen, Deputy Director, Programmatic and Strategic Integration, Exploration Systems Development at NASA

TTEthernet Doing More with Less at 1,000 Times the Speed

TTEthernet is a highly deterministic version of Ethernet and is fully compatible with the standard IEEE Ethernet networks found in every home and office around the world. On board of the Orion, TTEthernet helps to connect almost 50 communication endpoints and moves data at a rate 1,000 times faster than the old systems of the space shuttle. As a single network it supports all of Orion’s data transfers and communication with less mass, power and cost than the old multisystem network approach. These savings are achieved because it is now possible for the first time to robustly integrate highly critical real-time functions like flight controls and life-support systems with lower priority data on one single physical network while guaranteeing predictable system behaviour.

TTTech Technology from Outer Space for Everyday Use

Apart from the MPCV TTEthernet is used in many other applications across various industries: It enables autonomous docking maneuvers in space but also piloted driving and parking for Audi’s next generation of cars. TTEthernet will further facilitate new advanced functions on board of helicopters as well as civil and military aircraft. Additionally, it will also transform industrial automation and provide the basis for making the real-time Internet of Things a reality.

Check out this video explaining Orion’s first flight